By William J. Keith


Shedite Chips

Simon scratched his head. The laptop seemed to be working fine. You didn't usually get a free laptop, but there had been that creepy guy that transferred title for... something... Simon couldn't remember exactly what, he'd kind of been not himself for the past couple of days. And there had been those two intense guys in the dark glasses who had seemed interested in the laptop, and had seemed ready to follow him home, until they lost interest for some reason and ran off after something he didn't see. Anyway, despite its odd provenance, it seemed to be an excellent computer.

It still freaked him out a little that the thing could get T3 speeds over its modem, though. And insane flops. And that it had an OS he'd never heard of, although it seemed fairly intuitive in a braintwisting sort of way. And no brand name. And an apparently infinite battery. In fact, it had freaked him out enough that, against his better judgment, professional curiosity had gotten the better of him and he'd taken the laptop to his shop and opened it to peek inside.

Green slime. Why green slime? How had green slime gotten in there, and why was the computer still working? Simon cleaned a bit of it out, but the underlying computer seemed to defy all decent rules of computing.

Blast. Now the laptop had stopped working, dead.

Oh well. Let's see if we can't cannibalize the processor....

The laptop which houses a Vapulan Shedite is actually a fairly solid device. Unless you know Helltongue, it's completely impossible to program it directly, but it otherwise can run most commercially-available programs, has an efficient 'Net connection, and has a celestially infinite power life. Since so many of them are made and used so regularly, the bugs have actually been fairly well worked out. Well, except for it being inhabited by a demon who wants to damn every human on Earth, but a proper soul-killing will take care of that little problem and leave you with a perfectly usable laptop.

Unfortunately, the laptop is not user-serviceable. The good news, though, is that various parts are in fact hellaciously compatible with man-made systems. Of particular interest is the motherboard. When inserted into an otherwise complete system made from parts available at or before the time the Shedite's laptop was created, it will connect and function (apparently) properly. It will push the performance envelope of the system, limited only by the other parts in its system, though it will not have the conveniently fast 'Net connection, infinite "battery" life or other celestially-powered abilities. It will, however, now take programming as if it were a commercial chipset (choose randomly from those compatible with the rest of the layout; this is now fixed).

The motherboard conveys certain celestial features, as well. The computer can now be inhabited by any possessing entity. It will also, thanks to hardwiring from Vapula's designs, try to mask or fake any identifying information for itself when used to connect to the Internet, or for its user if a Mercurian (or, to a lesser extent, other Choirs, when the resonance might grant such clues) attempts to resonate them via "live media." Give any such attempt to resonate, or trace or identify the user or his origin, a penalty equal to the original Shedite's Celestial Forces.

Naturally, the performance and protection has its downsides. One is that activities using the computer can be read as infernal, regardless of its user; TAINT_SEARCH will detect it, when possible, and it will also register on appropriate perceptive abilities, such as those of the Grigori. Secondly, Vaptech computers in the corporeal realm, if they contact the processor via corporeal means, essentially have root access, and can read and write all files. One final (some would say, serious) downside is that Vapula can still sense the location of such a device. Any time the computer is turned on(or every 24 hours of uptime), roll 3d6. On any 17 or 18, Vapula becomes aware of the device and its use, and may take whatever action he desires.

Malakite Chips

The two children crouched over the black object.

"What is it, Jen?"

"Looks like a feather."

"Can't be, it's a rock."

"Maybe it's a fossil."

"Cool! I've never seen one that big."

"It's pretty. I think I'll keep it."

These relics are extremely rare, since the process of their creation is rather tortuous. An angel must first know Numinous Corpus: Wings and have the Malakite of Stone attunement. Most such angels are of course Malakim of Stone, hence the name of the relics. The angel must sing NC: Wings and then take stone form while the Song is still in effect. Besides needing to get somewhere up high and then take stone form, there is the tactical use of having a larger than normal area protected by the Wings, even an enfolded human. Such a form can also be an effective block to a larger-than-normal-sized passage.

Attempts to damage the angel in this form will, as usual, fail. However, because the Wings are provided by a Song and are not part of the angel's Vessel, cosmetic damage can be done to them (though no real harm, either in Body Hits or carving any kind of passage through). In such cases, obsidian-black feathers of perfect shape may occasionally be chipped away from the Wings. Also, David can (as painlessly as he wishes) take such a chip from the corporeal or celestial wings of any Malakite of Stone, including himself. (Additional abilities may certainly be conveyed by such Superior-level Chips.)

The feathers can be of any size from primaries (0-point size) to down feathers (wearable). They can be tracked by the original owner, as if a Song of Affinity were in effect. While carried or worn, the wearer will in a desperate situation gain a tiny echo of the Malakite of Stone ability, corporeal, ethereal, or celestial: a corporeal Perfect Balance (if you don't have Compendium I, think "Olympic gymnast on a beam"), an etheral Unfazeable (think "Jeeves the Butler waiting patiently"), or a celestial 5 levels of Damage Resistance (I forget if this is an IN concept. Reduce damage from any attack to the body by 5.)

The Syphonically Aware can instinctively recognize these abilities and choose when and which to use. The Game Master will decide (sympathetically, not maliciously) when the ability will take effect for a mundane who carries one. After a number of uses equal to the originating Malakite's Celestial Forces, the Chip loses all powers.

There is one truly celestial ability, of use primarily to artificers. The Chip can be bound into a shield or armor with simple rituals -- sufficiently sincere prayer will do. (Yes, even a modern plastic riot shield could use this ability, although a stone feather in your riot shield might raise questions from your fellows in the force....) If the wearer ever takes damage that would have been lethal, the Chip shatters, and no damage reaches the wearer. This is as infinite an ability as the typical Malakite of Stone attunement is in the GM's campaign world.

If the Chip was created by damaging an angel, the owner will probably go to some lengths to gain it back and put it to good use. If David created the Chip, proper ownership will rather give the owner a +1 bonus to reactions from Heaven-aligned spirits who recognize it.

Fishin' Chips

Eli must have been enjoying a fishing trip. This relic appears to be a bag of ordinary snack food (pick a favorite kind; chips are a common form). When used to bait a hook, even the worst fisherman can catch enough for several good meals, assuming there are fish about; and any fish that has consumed this bait will have all the nutritive properties of manna. If caught and released, on the other hand, the fish will suffer no pain and will be extraordinarily healthy and long-lived.

Kobal's version actually grants no extra fishing abilities; rather, it gives the user the ability to Speak with Fish for a few minutes when one is caught. The mental "sound" of a fish suddenly impaled with a hook and yanked out of its atmosphere has put more than one unsuspecting fisherman off of seafood for life.

Jordi, it should be said, isn't particularly bothered by either relic. Eli's version can actually help a fish out, and Kobal's version can be seen as rather useful.


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